146 applications were received for the operation of new medical marijuana dispensaries in the U.S state of New Jersey. Many applicants will be disappointed.
Currently, there are just six dispensaries operating in New Jersey and given the broadening of the state’s medical cannabis program under Governor Phil Murphy, demand for cannabis products is outstripping supply.
The number of registered patients has skyrocketed since reforms were introduced earlier this year, from around 16,000 when Governor Murphy took office to now more than 30,000 – and the number is expected to continue to grow. With currently one dispensary per 5,000 patients, there’s certainly room for more.
In July, the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) released a Request for Applications for up to six new applicants to operate medical marijuana dispensaries, called Alternative Treatment Centres, across the state. In addition to dispensaries, applicants must also operate cultivating and manufacturing facilities.
Applications closed at the end of August and will now be reviewed by a selection committee, who will notify successful applicants when the process is complete. The selection committee will be looking for diversity of applicants, an ability to ramp up production responsibly and good professional track records to run centers that meet patients’ needs.
50 applicants applied for New Jersey’s northern region, 45 in the central region and 51 in the southern.
“By expanding Alternative Treatment Center locations in New Jersey, we are putting patients first and ensuring more convenient access to medical marijuana,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This is another step forward in removing barriers put in place by the previous administration and creating a more consumer-friendly program.”
While many applicants will go away disappointed, the Governor’s office says additional opportunities to apply to build cultivating, manufacturing, and dispensing sites will be available in the future.
“We will not stop until every patient in need can benefit,” said Department of Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal in late August.
New Jersey’s medical cannabis program covers a wide range of conditions, including chronic and debilitating pain, epilepsy, glaucoma, PTSD, side effects of cancer treatment and HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, MS and more. Further details on the program can be found here.